Nakuru County Intensifies Campaign To Combat Men’s Breast Cancer

The County government of Nakuru has initiated a men’s breast cancer awareness campaign aimed at getting more men tested for early diagnosis and treatment in addition to fighting the stigma surrounding men’s breast cancer.

County Executive Committee Member (CECM) in Charge of Health, Ms. Jacqueline Osoro, said that though breast cancer is mainly connected to women, who are also more at risk due to hormonal fluctuations, men are also increasingly becoming vulnerable to the disease.

Ms. Osoro said although breast cancer in men is rare, men should be made aware of common symptoms like lumps, discharge, and skin discoloration around the breast area, adding that Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October was another chance to enhance breast cancer awareness among men.

The CECM, who spoke when she hosted a delegation from GTB Scan Lab Nakuru Limited, further noted that breast cancer is also the leading cause of morbidity among women, hence the need to create awareness of early diagnosis and treatment of the disease.

She said the county government is committed to not only creating awareness but also improving support and cancer screening for residents across the devolved unit.

“Breast Cancer Awareness Month will also serve as an opportunity to encourage men to undergo prostate screening, as prostate cancer also poses a great threat to them,” Ms. Osoroe stated.

According to the World Health Organisation, detecting cancers early remains the cornerstone of breast cancer control. WHO states that early detection methods like clinical and self-breast examinations plus breast awareness are used as the main strategy for controlling cancer.

But while these strategies have immensely contributed to reducing mortality rates among female patients, in men, this could be a challenge as breast screening for men is not recommended routinely due to the low incidence.

Official health data shows that one in every eight women is likely to have breast cancer, and one in every 100 men has breast cancer, which is an indicator that the disease is rare in men but still affects some.

Ms. Osoro indicated that Kenya, like other third-world nations, struggles with cancer control, adding that thousands of cases of cancers like prostate, colorectal, and cervical cancer come up every year and there is still a lot to be done to create more awareness.

“Cancer is a leading cause of death all over the world, and one thing that can help change that is awareness. People are encouraged to look out for the signs and educate themselves more on the different types of cancer, hence the promotion of months like Breast Cancer Awareness Month,” the CECM observed.

Ms. Osoro said while prostate cancer is becoming more common in Kenya, mostly striking men over 50, the many people at risk remain largely unaware of its dangers and how to save themselves from its cruel grip.

Ms. Osoro said there was a need to bridge the gap between screening and medication, noting that 70 per cent of cancer cases in Kenya are diagnosed late, when nothing much could be done.

The CECM said the national government had developed policy guidelines aimed at reducing the prevalence of breast cancer in the eligible population by 50 per cent by the year 2025 through regular screening, early diagnosis, and treatment.

She noted that the devolved unit was strengthening the capacity of healthcare workers to screen for and detect precancerous cells.

The statistics from the Ministry of Health also rank cancer as the third leading high-mortality disease in Kenya, with cervical cancer as the top cause of death among women, followed by breast, uterine, and oesophagus cancers. The statistics indicate that about 6,000 new cases of breast cancer are reported every year in the country.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer’s Globocan data shows that the disease claims 18,772 women compared to 14,215 men yearly. Women also lead in new cancer cases, with 28,688 getting the disease compared to 19,199 men, representing 56 per cent of the total new cases.

In the next five years, the Globocan data projects that Kenyan women will continue bearing the brunt as cancer rates are set to rise twice as fast as in men.